16979 RAYMOND LAURENCE ORCHARD
On Tuesday 19 February the family, friends and service mates of Ray Orchard gathered at the Asply Uniting Church in Brisbane to celebrate the life of Ray and to pay homage and respect to a man who served his country and looked after his friends to his utmost. 5 RAR Association members came from WA, VIC, NSW, the Gold and Sunshine Coasts as well as from Brisbane (Ron Shambrook and MAJGEN Stuart Smith had to leave before the photo below was taken, Carol Townsend and Elaine Hindmarsh also attended the service.).
As fitting for a soldier of Ray's calibre, his coffin was draped in the Australian flag, a 5 RAR sash and a 5 RAR bashed slouch hat were laid upon it.
Ray's grandchildren, Jade and Jack read a poem, that was penned after his passing by one of Ray's 1 RAR mates, Bill Charlton (see Poetry Section on Home Page). The military eulogy, by Harry Neesham, followed and was very well received by the mourners. Harry's words contained a variety of anecdotes, both serious and humorous that illustrated the man that Ray was and the lasting respect that he deserved, and received, from the men that served beside him.
Some of Ray's siblings then related stories of Ray and of their special memories him. After this Jason and Bianca, Ray's children, shared their memories of, their love and respect for their father with the congregation.
Ray's service medals were carried in on a velvet cushion by his grandchildren, Jade and Jack, and placed on his casket.
At this point Rowdy Hindmarsh spoke a few words about the symbolism of the Flanders Poppy, and the attending ex-servicemen were invited to each place one on Ray's casket as a mark of their respect. At the conclusion of this Rowdy asked the ex-servicemen to retire to form a Guard of Honour for Ray.
After the service Harry Neesham, on behalf of C Company 5 RAR, presented Jason Orchard with an Australian Flag and certificate in respectful memory of Ray.